How to Adjust Glasses

How To Adjust Glasses


Updated on August 8, 2019. Reviewed by Chris Day (Optician).

Do your new glasses feel loose or a bit uncomfortable? Eyeglasses don’t always fit perfectly straight out of the box, but luckily, it’s easy and quick to adjust them to suit you.

Ensuring your glasses fit well is one of the steps to making sure you can enjoy pristine vision and feel great in your new frames. We’ve put together a simple guide to explain how to adjust your glasses, so you get an effortless fit all day, every day.

Which glasses adjustments do I need?

It’s important to remember that adjusting eyeglass frames is best done by a licensed optician, as they are familiar with the techniques and have a “feel” for bending frame materials. View our clinic locations here. If there’s not a local optical store available near you, there are a few things you can do to adapt the fit of your glasses at home.

Making your glasses level

Wearing your new frame, look at yourself in a mirror and keep eye contact as you tilt your chin down. As you’re looking through the uppermost portion of the lens, look in the mirror and see if your pupils are at an equal height in the lenses. If they’re not, you can make your glasses level on your face adjusting the temples.

If one side is higher than the other:

  1. Heat the temple by immersing it in warm water for 20-30 seconds.
  2. Bend it down using slow and steady pressure – only bend the temple a millimetre or two at a time.

Adjusting the height of your frames

When you receive your glasses, your frames can be adjusted to sit higher or lower slightly to better align your pupil with the optical centre of your lens. Your prescription must be aligned with your eyes in order to work properly. If your glasses are not the right height, you can fix them by adjusting the nose pads, frame, or bridge.

How to adjust glasses height with nose pads

Move the nose pads closer together or farther apart to level the glasses. Then, place the frame at the desired height on the bridge of your nose. Ideally the bridge of a metal frame should sit 2-3mm above your nose.

  • To bring the frames closer to your eyes, move the pad arms closer to the frames.
  • To move the lenses away from your eyes, pull the nose pads away from the frames.

How to adjust glasses height with plastic frames

If there is a small amount of movement between the bridge and your nose, you can tighten the bridge slightly by grasping the frame from the top or bottom with the front of the lenses facing away from you:

  • Cup the lenses in the palm of each hand.
  • Place each thumb at the point where the lens meets the bridge of the frames.
  • Bend the frames towards you.

Use gentle, steady pressure to wrap the frames more tightly around your face. Warming the bridge of the frame slightly may help, but only use lukewarm water in a thin stream from the tap. Hot water can damage the coating of the lenses, so ensure the water is only lukewarm and keep the stream of water away from the lenses if possible.
Do not use a hair dryer to warm the frames – this could damage both the frames and lenses. Plastic bridges cannot be tightened more than 1-2mm and any adjustments you do may need to be repeated several times over a few days to get the adjustment to set.

How to adjust glasses height with a metal bridge

Frames with metal bridges and adjustable nose pads offer more flexibility, as you can move the metal nose pad arms.

  1. Put on your glasses and face a mirror.
  2. Looking above the centre of your bridge and just under the bridge of the frame, there should be approx. 2mm of space between the bridge of the glasses and your nose.
  3. The bridge should sit above the skin of your nose and just touch when you wrinkle your nose.

Metal frames can be raised by gently closing the nose pads together with your thumb and forefinger. Use gentle, steady pressure and only move each pad a millimetre at a time, trying the frame on again between each adjustment. If your metal frames are sitting too high on your nose, lower them by opening the nose pads slightly, pushing with the pad of each thumb.

Too far away from your eyes

Your frames and lenses should ideally sit as close to your eyes as possible – this is especially true for progressive lens wearers. Ideally, your frames should be as close as you can get them without touching your eyelashes.

Glasses with plastic frames

If you have plastic frames, they should be already sitting on your nose bridge in a natural position. Hold your frames exactly where you would like them to sit on your nose and test if you can bring them closer to your eyes by batting your eyelashes a few times.

Find a place where the frames are as close as they can be without touching your eyelashes but still feel natural and comfortable. Holding the frames firmly in position with one hand, feel the along the arm of the frame behind your ear. The bend in the temple should start just behind your ear.

If it’s not quite in the right place, use a dry erase marker to mark a spot on the temple 1-2 mm behind the top of your ear. Don’t use a permanent marker as it will not come off your frames.

Once that mark is placed at the point you’d like the bend to be, you can take the frames off and proceed to adjusting the temples (which we explain below!).

Glasses with wire frames

If you have metal frames with nose pads, you have more control over how far the frames sit on your face. To bring the frames closer to your eyes, push the nose pad arms from the rear towards the frame. Most nose pad arms have an upside-down “U” shape.

  • First, push the top of the pad arm towards the frame front.
  • Next, gently move the bottom.
  • Use gentle, steady pressure and only move the pad arms a millimetre at a time.

Try the frames on again and look in the mirror between adjustments. Ideally the frames and lenses will be just shy of touching your eyelashes when you blink. When you look in the mirror, check that the metal bridge is 1-2mm from the skin above your nose. It should only touch if you furrow your brow.
If your eyelashes are touching the lenses when you blink:

  • Pinch the nose pad arm between thumb and forefinger.
  • Pull it away from the frames front while bracing the frames against your middle finger.
  • Use gentle, steady pressure.

If you have a flat nose bridge, you will want the nose pad arms quite far away from the frames. Use a rocking motion to first pull the top of the pad arm farther from the frame front, then the bottom. You can check that the pad arms are the same distance from the frame by viewing them directly from the top and bottom.

How to adjust nose pads

Nose pads should ideally sit evenly on your nose bridge with as much of the pad in contact with your nose as possible to prevent red marks. Once you have adjusted how far your nose pad arms will be, look closely in the mirror to examine the angle at which the pads sit.

If you purchased plastic frames, make sure the bridge is fitting well:

  • Put on the glasses and position them where you’d like them to be on your nose.
  • Tap each corner of the frame sideways while watching the point where the bridge touches your nose.
  • Is there any more than 1-2mm movement? If so, your bridge may be too large and your frames will continue to slide down your nose.

You can adjust the angle of the pads with needle-nose pliers that have been wrapped in a cloth to prevent scratching the frame or lenses. Alternatively, your local optician has special pliers designed specifically for adjusting nose pad arms – you may wish to consult them for nose pad arm adjustments.

How to adjust glasses temples

When the frame front is both at the desired distance from your face and level, you can then fine tune the temples for the height and make sure the bend of the temple is in the proper position behind your ear.

You shouldn’t be able to feel the temple “gripping” behind your ear. If you can feel it when you try them on, it could become irritating after a few hours.

The temples (arms) of your frames likely bend downwards just behind your ear. Position your frames to fit comfortably. Feel behind your ear for the bend in the temple – the temple should begin to slope downwards just behind your ear, with a millimetre or two to spare.

  • Any more than that and your temples will need to be tightened.
  • If the bend in the temple starts before your ear, your temples will need to be loosened.

How to tighten or loosen temples

  • Run the temple under warm water for 20-30 seconds to soften the plastic or metal.
  • To tighten the temple: Bend the end of the temple downwards while grasping the temple at the bend.
  • To loosen the temple: Bend the end of the temple upwards.

Ideally the temples should bend at about 45 degrees starting just behind your ear. You may need to warm the temple tip and gently mould it around the area behind your ears, to avoid potential discomfort when you’re wearing them for long periods of time.

Bend of your frames

You may need to move the location of the bend in the frames if the bend begins before the ear, or you can fit more than your pinky finger into the spot between the bend and your ear.

To do this:

  1. Mark the location where the bend should start by applying a small mark on the temple just behind your ear with a dry erase marker or other non-permanent marker.
  2. Take the frames off and heat the temple with lukewarm water.
  3. Straighten the temple with your hands.
  4. Once the temple is straight, bend it at the mark you made previously.

Visit your optician for an optimal glasses adjustment

Over time, frames can alter slightly and bow outwards because of the pressure of your head against the temples.

We recommend visiting a professional optician every three months for a “tune-up” to have your frames tightened up a bit and all screws checked for security. This is usually about a five-minute process and a great way to extend the life of your frames.

If your new glasses need small adjustments, it’s easy to fix them at home, so you can be sure to enjoy long-lasting frames that deliver optimal comfort and eyesight!

With Clearly, ordering glasses online is quick and easy. Just have your prescription and glasses measurements to hand, fill in your details online, and find a pair of glasses that you love! Once they arrive, you can adjust them to suit you perfectly and enjoy pristine vision and comfort!

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